Apple will require shoppers to wear face masks again in half of its U.S. stores, the company confirmed to USA TODAY.It is the first major retailer to confirm a change in its policy.
The company’s updated mask policy begins Thursday, two days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new masking guidelines that recommend people vaccinated against the coronavirus to resume wearing masks indoors in areas of high or high transmission of COVID-19.
The CDC’s new mask directive also recommends that people with underlying conditions that can make them more susceptible to coronavirus wear masks, as well as anyone residing with vulnerable people.
A list of Apple stores that will require masks was not available Wednesday afternoon, but the information will be added to the retailer’s website. Stores that will need masks are in COVID hotspots or areas that have local or state mandates.
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Apple was one of the first retailers to close stores at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 and when stores began reopening in May 2020 there were requirements for masks and temperature controls as well as limited capacity.
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The change comes just weeks since Apple stopped requiring masks in most of its stores in June. Most retailers quickly ditched mask guidelines for fully vaccinated customers in May after the CDC’s latest update.
Since May, most states have lifted mask requirements for people who have been vaccinated, and some have lifted their masks for everyone warrants. Several local governments – including Los Angeles County and St. Louis – have recently started requiring people vaccinated to wear masks again, citing concerns about the delta variant.
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Contribution: Adrianna Rodriguez, Jeanine Santucci and Kate Mabus, USA TODAY
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